National Newswatch

Justin Trudeau’s mid-life crisis

Nov 9 2017 — John Geddes — Serving in Justin Trudeau’s cabinet looked, at the outset, quite literally like a walk in the park. Images of the lucky chosen strolling in all their gender-balanced, ethnically diverse glory up Rideau Hall’s tree-lined lane to be sworn in on Nov. 4, 2015, has lasted as the iconic, bucolic image of this Liberal government’s beginnings.

Andrew Scheer’s victory speech takes aim at Trudeau

May 27 2017 — John Geddes — Saskatchewan MP Andrew Scheer used his victory speech at the Conservative leadership convention in Toronto this evening to implore his party to unite behind him, while painting a dark vision of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government bringing “pain and hardship to Canadians.”

Canada’s last lines of defence against populism

Mar 7 2017 — John Geddes — A week after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States last Nov. 8, Conservative MP Ted Falk rose in the House of Commons during the time set aside for “members’ statements,” which falls just before question period and is, as a rule, politely ignored. Falk represents the Manitoba riding of Provencher, hard by […]

Trudeau’s zeal for electoral reform fell with his own electoral success

Feb 2 2017 — John Geddes — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s about-face today on electoral reform is such a blatant breaking of an unambiguous campaign commitment that it’s tempting to speculate he never meant to keep this promise all along. What’s more likely to have happened, though, isn’t that Trudeau knowingly lied from the start, but that he conveniently lost enthusiasm for […]

How the Trudeau government is bracing for Trump

Jan 20 2017 — John Geddes — The federal government is working to exploit contacts and push shared interests as many wonder if the PM and the president will hit it off. Back in the fall of 1984, less than a month after he was elected prime minister, Brian Mulroney met with then-U.S. president Ronald Reagan at the White House. To help […]

Kevin O’Leary’s campaign got rolling over lunch

Jan 16 2017 — John Geddes — How the reality TV star shifted from flirting with a Tory leadership bid to organizing the real deal. When Kevin O’Leary popped up on Facebook late last week to nearly, almost, not quite declare his bid for the federal Conservative leadership, close watchers of Canadian politics must have been thinking, “Get on with it, Mr. […]

Was Maryam Monsef ‘demoted’ in Trudeau’s cabinet shuffle?

Jan 12 2017 — John Geddes — The debate over whether or not it’s fair to say Maryam Monsef was “demoted” when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made her minister of status of women earlier this week, removing her from the Democratic Institutions portfolio, is largely missing the point. The admittedly subjective business of assessing the relative importance of cabinet positions isn’t based […]

Charlie Angus comes in from the cold

Jan 9 2017 — John Geddes — In a TV interview from MuchMusic back in 1983, members of the punk band L’Etranger talk earnestly, on the front porch of a downtown Toronto house, about the left-wing causes they champion in their songs. “The question always comes up: ‘Why do you sing about apartheid? Why do you sing about this, why do you […]

Canadian politics 2016: The year in 12 chapters

Dec 29 2016 — John Geddes — How many overseas trips did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take in 2016 (leaving aside his five intracontinental jaunts to the United States)? How many MPs sat on the Special Committee on Electoral Reform, whose work was slammed, in no uncertain terms, by Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef (though she later apologized, saying she hadn’t really […]

In year two of Trudeau, promises meet their proving ground

Dec 12 2016 — John Geddes — Few saw the one-two punch thrown by global politics in 2016 coming. Like a set-up jab to the body, Brits voted to exit the European Union. And then, like an even harder follow-up cross to the head, Americans voted Donald Trump into the presidency. The world was left seeing stars. But maybe, if this isn’t […]

Maryam Monsef’s change in parliamentary tone

Dec 2 2016 — John Geddes — Back in early September, I visited picturesque Peterborough, Ont., to interview Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef. It’s her home, and Monsef suggested we talk on the deck of her favourite coffee shop, overlooking the placid Otonabee River, not far from her constituency office in the city’s well-preserved downtown.

Tom Mulcair: The 2016 Parliamentarian of the Year

Nov 16 2016 — John Geddes — On Nov. 15, Maclean’s celebrated the best of Ottawa with the ninth edition of our Parliamentarians of the Year awards, which were handed out based on the results of a secret-ballot survey of their peers in the House of Commons. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair won the top honour for 2016. View the full list of […]

Canada’s immigration debate is more serious than America’s

Oct 20 2016 — John Geddes — As Canadians watching U.S. politics, there is always a temptation to look for competitive advantage. What good policy will our politics allow that U.S. politics seemingly never will? Historically, the examples have been definitive—and as diverse as universal health care and a national value-added tax. But watching this fall’s U.S. presidential election, including tonight’s debate […]

Chris Alexander on diplomacy, Trump, and leadership hopes

Oct 19 2016 — John Geddes — Chris Alexander was seen as a Conservative rising star when he won a suburban Toronto riding in the 2011 election. Before jumping into politics, he had cut a dashing figure as an improbably youthful Canadian ambassador to Afghanistan. By the time he lost his seat last fall, though, Alexander had turned into a polarizing figure […]

How the Liberals are taking on its toughest files

Oct 17 2016 — John Geddes — Anyone looking for members of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet who embody his vision of Canadian society has no shortage of likely candidates. Following him down that sunlit lane to Rideau Hall to be sworn in last fall, they were a political marketer’s dream: half of them younger than 50, precisely as many women as men, visible-minority […]